Boot Camp in Quantitative Methods           


Beta-test, June 2011


Co-Directors: Mike Springer and Rick Born

(michael_springer[at], 432-7391; rborn[at], 432-1307)


Curriculum Fellows: Heather Doherty and Catherine Dubreuil

Teaching Fellows: Dan Brady, Amy Ni, Douglas Ruff, Alexandra Smolyanskaya, Alex Wiltschko


Time: June 9, 10, 13 and 14, 9:30am - 5:00pm

Location: Countway Library, Rm. 403


The goals of this camp are to introduce you to programming in the MATLAB environment and to show you the power this provides for analyzing data and for gaining intuition about the behavior of complex systems through the use of numerical simulations. Some of you, upon encountering in the previous sentence words like "programming" and "numerical simulations," will feel the cold hand of fear grip your stomach, because you have never done any programming and, in fact, have tried to avoid math as much as possible. If so, YOU ARE PRECISELY THE PERSON WE HAVE IN MIND as we are planning the course. We are aiming to help you break through this barrier of darkness and fear into the radiant sunshine of quantitative enlightenment. The true beauty of MATLAB, as I will personally demonstrate, is that it allows people who are not mathematically adept (e.g. me) to use powerful numerical methods and visualization tools to gain an understanding of concepts that are very difficult to grasp analytically. (For those who are already seasoned MATLAB programmers, we will provide more advanced problems to tackle or give you the opportunity to help with the class – teaching is the best way to really learn.)


The longer term goal is to integrate the new quantitative skills you will obtain into your scientific toolbox. In this spirit, you should think of the boot camp as the start of a beautiful relationship—one that will continue throughout your coursework and follow you into your dissertation labs. We will integrate MATLAB-based demonstrations and problems into the core curriculum as well as have two additional "top-up" sessions during the first year: one in January and one in June of 2012. During these sessions, you will be encouraged to bring data and analysis problems from your lab experiences.


PREREQUISITE: Must be able to turn on a computer and use a keyboard and mouse.


Syllabus (html)

Syllabus (pdf)




            NOTE: Documents and associated MATLAB code can be accessed in one of two ways: 1) by clicking on individual files in the day-by-day list displayed below or 2) by clicking on the html version of the syllabus (above) and using the links therein. For some strange reason, the web host does not like files with a ".m" extension. Thus all MATLAB scripts or functions will be placed here as text (".txt") files. In order to use them within MATLAB, just change the extension back to ".m". Sorry for the klugeiness.


Day 1:              MATLAB Intro 2011.doc





                        LoadArray script

                        Genetic Drift script


Day 2:              Growth Curve Data


Day 3:              Rattus binomialis

                        Rat Movie

                        Bootstrap Bill

                        Bootstrap Bill

                        MT Cell Movie

                        Spike Sorting

                        Spike Sorting


                        MATLAB Image Analysis 2011.doc



Day 4:              Natural Images and Your Brain



                        Where's Abe?


                        Harmon & Julesz 1973

                        Marr & Hildreth 1980